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by Julia McDonald, AU Counsellor
There are five levels of education that provide preparation for a career in social work:
The level of education required for a career in social work varies with the type of work and work setting. In most provinces, the BSW is the minimum educational requirement for entry into the profession. In Alberta, the minimum requirement is a Diploma in Social Work.
Athabasca University does not offer any diploma or degree programs in Social Work. However, most universities require you to do either one or two years of pre-professional studies before applying to their Social Work program. You can take many of these courses at AU.
Some BSW programs will admit students who already have an approved Bachelor's degree. You can do a BSW as a second degree, which usually takes an extra two years. A few programs require an undergraduate degree for admission and may take an additional one to two years to complete. At AU, we have several bachelor degrees to choose from.
NOTE: This information is general in nature. Admission requirements to Social Work programs vary from university to university. It is your responsibility to ensure that courses or degrees taken at AU will be accepted at the university you wish to attend.
The following links contain useful information on duties, working conditions, skills, education, salary, employment prospects and opportunities plus a whole lot more:
For information about social work education
BSW Distance Education programs are offered at the following Canadian universities:
Distance BSW: Virtual Learning Circles. This program is designed for students in rural, remote and/or indigenous communities across Canada. The program has a small on-site requirement; one week in early September each year.
Admission requirements for three different routes:
1) University Transfer Route requires completion of at least 18 (of the 20 required) university transferable half course equivalents (18 - 20 three credit courses at AU in Administrative Studies, Humanities, Sciences, and Social Sciences).
2) After Degree Route requires the completion of an acceptable undergraduate degree.
Additional admission requirements for both:
3) Post Diploma Route requires applicants to have a Social Work diploma from an approved college program; completion of 8 university transferable half-courses as part of the diploma is required; and a grade point average (GPA) of 2.3 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
Additional admission requirements:
Distance students register on a part-time basis for three years of study.
This program is aimed at individuals who already work in the field of social work and would like to pursue a professional social work education.
Other useful sites for researching education:
To become a practicing social worker in Canada, you usually need to be registered. The educational requirements for registration may vary from province to province.
For more information on registration requirements:
An advisor can help you select courses and develop a program plan for studies at Athabasca University. (For courses or programs at another institution, you must contact that institution directly for further assistance.) You can e-mail an advisor at email@example.com , call 1-800-788-9041or visit their web site.
If you have further questions regarding this career path or wish to book a telephone appointment to speak with a counsellor, please contact us.
Alberta Learning Information Services (2004). Alberta Occupational Profiles: Social Worker. Retrieved January 13, 2005 from http://www.alis.gov.ab.ca/occinfo/Content/RequestAction.asp?format=html&aspAction=GetHomePage&Page=Home
Bachelor of Social Work: Admissions Information. (2004). Retrieved January 22, 2005 from Dalhousie University, School Social Work web site: http://socialwork.dal.ca/bswintro.html
Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work (CASSW) (n.d.). Programmes. Retrieved January 13, 2005 from: http://www.cassw-acess.ca/xSCH/sc1x1.htm.
Faculty of Social Work: 3.5 Distance Delivery of the Bachelor of Social Work Program (n.d.) Retrieved from University of Manitoba 2004-2005 Calendar web site: http://webapps.cc.umanitoba.ca/calendar05/faculties/social_work/admissions/distance.asp
National Occupational Classification (2001). 4152 Social Worker. Retrieved January 13, 2005 from http://www23.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca/2001/e/groups/4152.shtml
School of Social Work: BSW Admissions (n.d.) Retrieved January 22, 2005 from the University of Victoria, School of Social Work web site: http://socialwork.uvic.ca/programs/bsw/apply.htm
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Updated February 04 2014 by Student & Academic Services